Cuban Justice Does Not Even Trust Its Own Shadow / Laritza Diversent

Rafael has been sentenced to spend two years of his life in jail for the crime of rape despite the fact two DNA tests that proved his innocence.

Laritza Diversent

Although accused of a rape crime, all the way from the prison he is being kept in, Rafael Ramos Utra proclaims his innocence after the Popular Provincial Tribunal of Las Tunas sentenced him to 20 years of prison in their Sentence No. 13 on January of 2006.

According to the sentence, Ramos Utra sexually attacked a 6-year-old minor inside her own house. The child normally visited the family, for she was receiving dance classes from Rafael’s step-daughters, while her mother worked as a cashier in a small grocery shop nearby the house.

According to the tribunal, on March 25, 2005 in the home of Ramos Utra, the minor was tied and muzzled with two pantyhose socks by Utra, and later raped. Rafael, 51, denies that he was alone with the girl, and even further denies that he even touched her.

Two DNA tests, carried out by the Central Criminal Laboratory of Cuba on samples of semen remaining in the young girls’ underwear, proved that he was not the culprit. The results of the first exam showed that “there is no relation between the semen present in the child’s underwear or the blood samples taken” and the suspect Rafael Ramos Utra”.

The second test stated that “the yellowing stain on the underwear” of the minor coincided with “her own menstrual blood.” And that, “It was not possible to establish a genetic profile in the underwear because the seminal material was used up,” the second report said, prepared two months after the first.

According to the experts, the probability of finding another individual with the same genetic information is a 1 out of 15 million chance, discarding the possibility that it may belong to Rafael Ramos Utra.

Both of these exams were the first of its kind to ever be performed in the province of Las Tunas with the purpose of trying to identify a criminal. However, the tribunal rejected both results, based on a declaration made by one of the lab experts.

They declared Ramo Utra guilty and they ordered the incineration of the underwear, which was the only available proof. The defense sustained his innocence, based on the results submitted by the Central Criminology Laboratory of Cuba, which asserted that the underwear had semen that did not correspond to the defendant.

Ramos Utra protested for an annulment because the expert who participated in the trial was not consulted by any of the officials and the and the board of judges refused him the right to a professional test. The defender proposed the declaration of 2 experts. One of them carried out the first DNA test which proved that his client was innocent in regards to the sexual assault.

The Supreme Court ruled his attempt at an annulment as void and classified there being “solid proof for pressing charges”, that proof which supposedly “affirms aspects of credibility and give reason to sufficient enough knowledge to attribute penal responsibility to the accused”.

“It is not necessary to delay the process to hear the statement of another criminal expert who would change nothing in the conviction determined by the trial court, obtained from the logical and rational deduction from the abundant remainder of the evidentiary material and from which neither a state of lack of defense nor injustice was created, that would be repaired on appeal,” according to the supreme organ of justice in Cuba.

The defendant has addressed different State institutions in writing, demanding justice and his release. Despite the results of the DNA Tests, he has received more than a dozen responses, all asserting his guilt. Cuban justice dies not trust its own shadow, much less the most reliable proof that exists in the modern world, for the presumption of innocence of a person.

Translated by Raul G.

April 8 2011